There’s little to argue the fact that the Los Angeles Kings are a team that has had a tough time putting the puck in the back of the net over certain stretches in the last few seasons. For a team built on defense, that’s acceptable to a certain extent. But given the offensive talent that they do possess, it’s puzzling, if not concerning at times.
One player that took quite a bit of heat last season for his lack of an ability to find the back of the net was Anze Kopitar. Kopitar’s goal output dipped significantly, though he was still in a position where he was putting points on the stat sheet. They just weren’t goals. In the playoffs, his silence in the goal scoring department became even more noticeable.
After never producing less than 20 goals in a season, Kopitar came up with only 10 in 2013. Obviously the shortened season played its part in it, and Kopitar started the season slow because of an injury sustained while playing in Europe during the lockout, but just 10 is a somewhat startling figure.
Even more concerning was the fact that six of those goals came before the end of February. Which means that for the last two full months of the regular season, he only found the back of the net four times. He didn’t notch a single goal in the month of April. In the playoffs, despite the Kings’ advancement to the Western Conference Finals, he managed only nine points, including six goals.
Does this necessarily mean that we should be concerned about where Kopitar’s game is, from a goal scoring perspective? Not necessarily. He was clearly playing hurt for much of the year, and was still playing well in other areas, even if the puck didn’t find the back of the net as often as you’d like.
There’s no reason to think that Kopitar won’t rebound in 2013-14. He’s had the summer to get healthy, and should be able to return to form and re-establish himself as one of the top two-way players on the planet this season.